"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Riches: Cinderella

One of the most interesting aspects of The Riches is that, because of Dahlia's jail term and the family's Traveler history, any disruption that the writers can throw in the Malloys' way seems at least somewhat plausible. Heck, I think the only thing that would make me roll my eyes is if Godzilla came to visit Eden Falls. And even then, I would give the story at least a half hour to play out before dismissing it completely.

Up until this episode, I didn't know much about what Dahlia went through in her two years in prison. I still don't know everything, but after meeting her Chunky Kay, we know that Dahlia's two years could have been a whole lot worse if not for her "cellie." We also know that friendship on the inside doesn't necessarily translate to friendship on the outside.

Davenia McFadden did a nice job as Chunky; I know that deep down she's a good person, but life circumstances -- she killed her abusive husband and readily admits it to Wayne and the kids -- and has a bit of an anger control problem. Despite the fact that her idea to market rabbit meat was a little stupid, and her way to get back at Hugh was to have him snort coke (or was it heroin?) off her boobs, she still seemed sincere in her desire to honestly get ahead in life. But Wayne knew things weren't quite right with her: seeing her sniffing glue was the biggest clue. He was right on the money when he told Dahlia that they were most likely "drug buddies" than anything else, and I'd imagine he now knows who helped make his wife the addicted mess she currently is.

Well, make that was. She didn't take what Chunky offered her after she asked her cellmate to leave. You want to respect Dahlia's efforts to want to share the Malloy's new-found wealth, but every effort to poke an opening in the walls she says they're building around themselves is another opportunity for their cover to be blown. It's going to be a constant fight for the Malloys; how do they make their way in this buffer life and not let their emotions cloud their judgment?

Speaking of judgment-clouding... Wayne came awfully close to becoming a partner at Panco, didn't he? Luckily, he decided to hold off singing the agreement Hugh put in front of him at the dinner party. It would have just been too much too soon for the Malloys; they're still Travelers, and Hugh being a partner would have made him into a buffer far too quickly, and Dahlia let him know that. But I also think he passed on the partnership because he saw Hugh being a raging lunatic tweaking out on his first snort in eight years, and I'm sure he thought that maybe ownership wasn't the best thing for him.

And Hugh was certainly hitting his stride when he publicly outing the Riches' neighbor Jim. How he knows Jim was gay is beyond me; maybe that's better left unsaid. But now I know why Nina sucks down those pills like they're Skittles; she's been in a sham of a marriage for 18 years. How sad for her that the only thing that keeps her going is the thought that people who drive past Eden Falls on the highway are jealous that she's living there. Compared to Nina and Jim, the life of the Malloys seems a whole hell of a lot more fulfilling.

What were those adjectives Chunky gave Hugh to convince him to make Wayne a partner? Or were the adjectives hidden under her bra? We'll never know, I guess.

The kids weren't particularly involved in the story this week. I still want to see more of Sam, but I was happy that the writers briefly explored some of his cross-dressing tendencies in this episode. "It's just a barrette," he says as he chafed in his dinner party suit. But I knew that, as soon as he eyeballed the lipstick in his hand, that he'd come to dinner in his prettiest Sunday brunch wear. Nice cover by Di Di; Hugh is enough of a prick that he would have never let Wayne live that down, while ripping Sam a new one in the process for not being part of the "B" team ("B" for "boy").

This was an entertaining episode, with a nice mix of humor and drama. There were a couple of loose ends presented (will Chunky seeing Doug Rich's degree come back to haunt the Malloys? How about her calling Dahlia by her real name in front of all the guests?) that may or may not get resolved. But it was well-plotted and well-acted as usual.

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